What is a Disability?

A person with a disability includes a person who has a long term physical, mental, intellectual or sensory impairment which may hinder his full and effective participation in society, on an equal basis with other persons.

A disability may occur from birth or during the course of a person’s life.
About 15% of the world’s population has a disability (WHO, 2015).
In Jamaica, persons with disabilities are among the most marginalized in the society.

A disability does not mean that someone cannot be a productive, functioning member of society.

Removing the barriers to proper health care, education and employment are some of the most important ways of ensuring that persons with disabilities are able to live a fulfilling life.
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How to say what you mean without offending!

Positive communication starts with positive language. We are not ashamed of our disabilities unless you make us feel that way by using negative words to describe us. Here’s a simple guide to speaking our language!

WE’RE GOOD WITH THESE WORDS WE REALLY DON’T LIKE THESE! Together we can bring about change so that only positive, accurate words are acceptable in any conversation.
  • Deaf/Hard of Hearing
  • Intellectual Disability
  • Persons with Disabilities
  • Wheelchair user
  • Blind/Visually Impaired
  • Afflicted; Cripple
  • Wheelchair Bound
  • Deaf and Dumb
  • Deaf Mute
  • Retarded
  • Victim
  • Invalid
  • Paralytic
  • Educate
  • Inform
  • Correct others when they use inaccurate language
    including the Media.

This refers to any special adjustments and devices that may have to be used, made or included so that persons with disabilities can enjoy their rights and fully participate in the advancement of society.

Some reasonable arrangements are:

  • The provision of auxiliary aids and services.
  • Obtaining or altering devices that reduce the effect of a disability being experienced by an individual
  • Duly qualified interpreters, technologies etc.


If the “reasonable arrangements” are going to cost way too much to put in place, then this may cause an undue burden on the person or company who has to do it. But you can’t just say that it will be an undue burden. Under the Act you have to prove it.

Label for the Modal!

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